Guides on your dog
Mush your own sled dog team of Alaskan Huskies through the Alaska,
We began running adventure dog sled trips after many years in the
Alaska wilderness. Starting our sledding with a small team as a
hobby which has grown to involve our whole family.
Here is a little background information on our family of 3 and
our dogs: We are Wayne and Scarlett Hall, son Matt and a nice
number of friendly, energetic huskies. We began mushing as a hobby
more than 18 years ago with our own dog and a few borrowed dogs.
It quickly led to a breeding program of raising our own sled dogs.
Each dog is special, each dog has a name and a personality, and
each dog on its own could make someone a wonderful pet. Our
dogs are raised as part of a happy family. They work hard
for us all winter and they get their playtime in the summer.
They love to take walks, go for rides in the boat and runs thru
the forests, heck even meeting up with the occasional porcupine,
which for them is a blast, at least for a few minutes!
Each dog is taught from a pup to come to its name, to sit and to
whoa (stay). So we do not hesitate to let them loose to run
around because we know that they will come when called and are very
happy to do so.
Once we had developed our own sled dog teams we began yearly adventures
into remote Alaska. For up to 3 months, the three of us would
be totally isolated in interior Alaska. Dependant only on
ourselves and the dogs. We had no outside communication and
the dogs were our transport, to haul our supplies and us from one
remote site to another. It was during these years that we
learned our survival skills, because our lives actually did depend
on our skills and ourselves. There was no one out there to
bail us out, no trail to follow, and no safe route to take.
We put in our own trails over miles and miles of wilderness forests
and jumbled river ice.
We decided to put our skills and dogs to the test and Wayne ran
in the 2002 Yukon Quest (a 1000 mile dog sled race) becoming the
first musher, in the history of the race, to finish with all
14 dogs and received the Challenge of the North Award for his finish.
He competed again in 2006 finishing 10th and received the Sportsmanship
Award. In 2009 he ran his last Quest with a young 2 yr old team
and finished a strong 15th with a team that had never raced before.
Matt has continued in his father's footsteps and was the Copper
Basin Champion in 2016 and the Yukon Quest Champion in 2017.
Our dogs have proved over and over again their
loyalty and love.
Nate Becker has come on board and been working
with us for a many of years. He has spent many years as a paramedic/fire
fighter with the National Park Service. We highly value the skills
he has brought to our group as one of our guides and friend.
"I am all the time asked what
it is about this way of life that I so enjoy. The answer is simple:
Mushing dogs in this part of the world is the most "real"
endeavor I have every undertaken. There is nothing contrived about
running a team of Alaskan Huskies through this inhospitable land.
In essence, this is the most "alive" I have ever been."
Matt Emslie has returned to guiding
for us after a couple of years in the Peace Corps in Jamica.
"My greatest passion has always been
the outdoors. After experiencing diverse landscapes, I have come
to find my home, here in the Alaskan Bush. Here, with my dogs, I
find a great satisfaction and joy of life. By living remote and
following a simple lifestyle I am fulfilling a lifelong dream. It
is heartening to know that I create very little impact on my surroundings
and the landscape that gives me so much. This is my contribution
to our world." -Matt Emslie
one of our newest guides... has participated in several expeditions
with us over the last few years and has a very special connection
with dogs. She is also proudly owned by her own two Siberian Huskies,
Akela and Tsavo. Deb is an endurance Ultra Runner and Triathlete
and recently retired from the US Coast Guard after 23 years of active
"No words or photos can explain
the mystery and hidden spirit of mushing dogs in the Alaska Wilderness
- it's simply something you have to experience for yourself to truly
appreciate it's majestic beauty. I am humbled Wayne and Scarlet
have provided me this opportunity - I can't imagine any other way
to be spend "retirement"!"
Greg Ott has joined our team this year...
"I was born near Kansasville, Wisconsin.
I dreamed of becoming a cowboy skilled in hunting, roping cattle
or even a rodeo rider.
When my family moved to Ely, Mn I discovered a vast new world called
the Boundary Waters and Superior National Forest! I was surrounded
by a huge expanse of wilderness with endless places to explore!
I was introduced to dog sledding from the locals and realized there
is no greater way to explore than with man's best friend. I knew
from then on that I was destined to run a dog sled. I ran with my
new found love all around the BWCA. When I met Paul at Wintergreen
Dog sledding adventures he gave me the opportunity of a lifetime
guiding trips through the wilderness. As I grew more experienced
and Minnesota seemed to shrink, I turned my attention to America's
last frontier. THAT, is where I found the great Bush Alaska Expeditions!"
March 2013 Dog Sledding Video by Mike and Katie Rabalais
"A Quest for Adventure" and "Twenty-four Feet
Across the Yukon," are two videos a gifted client, Court, has
put together. His videos covers so much of what happens while on tour
with us and a segment of the Eagle Checkpoint during the Yukon Quest
2014 Dog Sled Race and our son, Matt Hall's race.
Feet Across the Yukon
Quest for Adventure
KENNEL UPDATE and BLOG
Dec 31, 2011...has us wishing you a very wonderful
New Year, may it be a good one.
The last week for us has been hectic with the start
to our tour season, severe cold temps and Nugget our female developing
a problem over the Christmas weekend. She was due to have a litter
of pups app Dec 28th. She developed an extreme infection in her
uterus and it looked like we had lost all the pups. We were able
to get her on a plane to Fairbanks and Dr Renee Rember. An ultrasound
showed at least one live heartbeat so they got busy and went in
to remove her uterus and pups. 4 of the 7 pups were alive. The pups
were not quite 48 hours old when they made the flight back to Eagle
with temps nearing 30 below. We grabbed the kennel and slammed it
into the sled and headed to the store to warm her and the pups up.
She had the pups so surrounded with her body that we decided to
leave them there. The original plan was to have Wayne hold them
inside his coat. We made a very slow trip down the river in the
dark and only ran into problems on the steep hill coming off the
river. So had to pull sled and machine back down and circle for
another run at it at higher speed. But Nugget being a good mom did
not squish anyone and warm hands were waiting at the cabin to hold
pups as we got mom settled under the kitchen table. They will stay
here until the weather warms some. They are a very contented set
of pups. One is still very small but appears healthy and growing
so hopefully it will catch up with the other 3. 3 females and 1
male...Rudolf, Vixen, Prancer and Dasher are a much wanted addition
to our kennel.
Dec 23...the snow has been lightly falling all
night. A very fine misting snow that does not build up to much depth
but it is still beautiful. We are going to have a quiet Christmas
here at the homestead before our season starts. Have a very Joyous
Dec 7, 2011...has the river still knee deep in
overflow in spots. Kind of a different year out there but when it
finally settles down there should be a good running edge for trails.
Wayne and I have enjoyed looking at some of the
"from model to musher" pictures that are in a lot of web
sites so we thought we would add our own. We have titled this...Before
Dec 1...Thanksgiving was a lot of fun with company
from downriver and then Hugh, Nicole and Jessie mushed in from Tok,
with 37 dogs in 2 teams. I think most of the run was a lot of fun
but the ice and our low snow trail system here at the homestead
had the departure a little bit exciting. Just after they left to
go back the river decided to rise and we are dealing with a lot
of wet stuff right now. Once it freezes back down then travel will
be good once again. This is a picture of Matt as he did some dog
training back and forth in the overflow.
Nov 19...has us waiting to see what the river looks
like. The ice came to a grinding halt the morning of the 17th and
then gound along again for a few minutes packing in harder. Yesterday
we had a great running edge of frozen overflow covered with lots
of hoar frost. We heard that the ice in Eagle stopped yesterday
morning but then in the afternoon was moving again so we are waiting
for daylight to see if anything changed here overnight. With luck
Eagle was just packing in filling in the holes which is what the
movement the day before did here. There is the possibility of some
great travel if we get some snow...snow...snow...
Oct 30th...Second snowfall and ice flowing in the
river have us antsy for enough snow to start running dogs with sleds.
The dogs really enjoy the free runs and it is a great time to get
puppies out on ice and used to different weather/winter conditions.
But for us it is more fun to be flying on the back of a dog sled
rather than avoiding them with a 4 wheeler that has soft brakes.
Oct 19th...First snow on the ground. Sure is pretty
and the dogs are excited to be racing around in it. Matt made it
home yesterday ahead of the storm. So we are all tucked in awaiting
the river freeze up. There might be another trip or two into Eagle
to check mail as long as the temps keep too much shore ice from
Oct 7th (I think)...winter is just around the corner
and we are just about all tucked in waiting for it. Got the fish
wheel parked high and dry today. Winter meat is hanging alongside
some of the chum salmon that is hanging drying for some dog food
this winter. We look forward to the coming season as it is a time
to relax...a little...finish off some chores...and work at getting
the dogs into shape.
Matt (Garf) has gone south for a couple of weeks
to visit Alyssa but is looking forward to a good winter training
and running dogs.
Matt has a website going as he starts preparing
for racing. If you get the chance check out http://smokinacekennels.com/
He came home with a surprise for us. It
seems he was picked as Tour Guide of the Season in Skagway. Mom
and dad are very proud of our kid.
Sep 16th...all are home safe and most of the supplies
are in. Here is a pictorial of the past few days.
May 23 has
had the dogs very excited with 2 unusual visitors into the dog yard.
On at least 5 visits that Wayne and I witnessed a lone white wolf
came calling. This has had us pondering the question of is it safe
to allow the beautiful animal such close proximity to the dogs?
There are many stories about such visits and some have bad endings
but many have interesting and wonderful endings. Ours was a good
ending. The wolf meandered about showing no aggression towards the
dogs or us. He has not visited in the past 3 days. Neither Wayne
nor I thought to grab the camera in our excitement at getting to
Now last night
and today is a different story! This bear has no problem allowing
us all the time we need to practically pose him for shots. As long
as he stays to the trails we are going to enjoy him.
September 12, 2011...just this second the sun has
topped the rise and lite up the bright yellow leaves into a very
vivid color. Fall is here, frost is on the ground and ice is in
the buckets. The fall chum (fish) are passing through and we are
busy catching food for ourselves and the dogs.
Matt made it home from the glacier with all the
dogs intact and then I clipped one of his pups with the four wheeler.
It has been touch and go but looks like the leg is going to be okay.
We have had a nightly visitor for a few nights
and were thinking it was a bear but it turned out to be a large
black wolf. Matt shot it just outside of his dog yard. We should
have realized it was a wolf as the dogs closest to it each night
were terrified. Guess we were lucky. I love to see the animals but
when they come into the yards it becomes too risky. A dog can be
a tasty morsel for a wolf.
Aug 31, 2011...cannot believe that another summer
is coming to a close. It has been a really nice summer, even with
all the rain. The river has continued to be high but is now dropping.
The fall chum salmon are starting to arrive and the run looks to
be good. Matt will be home from the glacier in a few days with most
of the dogs. It will be good to have everyone home.
The garden has turned out really nice and there
will be lots of veggies to eat for awhile this winter.
July 21, 2011...finally the liquid sunshine has
given way to 2 days of true sunshine and it is really nice. The
garden is loving it. The river is still up into the willows, record
heights for this time of year but it will hopefully start dropping
and stay down. The dogs are enjoying their relaxed summer and the
daily romps that they get to have. Two of the retired girls just
hang loose in the yard, all the time and Rita, Wayne's favorite
leader, has been loose for 2 months. Her perimeter has extended
from her dog house out about 20 feet into the grass of the yard.
She knows she is loose but will only come further when called.
The garden is growing well. The king run has stayed
weak so we really cut back on our personal fish this year. We are
hopeful for a good chum run which is used to supplement the dogs
food throughout the winter.
July 3, 2011...rain, rain go away..........................Days...no
make that weeks of rain and things are wet. The yard is one giant
puddle and the trails are running water and mud. Made a quick trip
out for supplies so that most of our supplies would be in here in
case the road goes out again. It has been closed 3 times already
this summer but only for short periods. Keep your fingers crossed.
The trip in was done overnight and what fun it was...2 hares, 2
porcupines, 1 large black bear, a duck and oddles of her young created
a line across the road that had us hooting with laughter. We also
saw 15 moose.
The water in the river is the highest it has ever
been on the 1st of July. We are unable to put our fishwheel in while
it is this high but I am not too upset about it as right now the
Chinook...king...run is shaping up very poorly. We are thinking
of not doing our strips and only getting a few cases canned.
Talked to Matt today...he and the dogs are all
doing well on the glacier.
June 25, 2011 is a sunny day after days of rain.
Rain hard enough to cause washouts and mud slides but it gave me
a good excuse to get the new pictures on the photos page. Please
check them out.
Check out a neat video, "Twenty-four Feet
Across the Yukon," that one of our clients, Court, has put
together. His video covers so much of what happens while on tour
with us. http://www.vimeo.com/21423713
May 27, 2011...has things fulling into summer operation.
Wayne and I helped Nate and Matt move dogs for their summer on the
glacier in Skagway and in Chicken. A wonderful friend from England
came and houseset for us as we took our first vacation and had a
great time. We returned home with a truck and trailor loaded with
supplies, dog food and lumber and it is still sitting in Eagle waiting
until we can get the large boat into the water.
Break up extended a little with cooler weather
and then went out nicely except that our trail system wound up under
water from the iced creeks. We had to back pack whatever supplies
we wanted. Wound up getting the ranger stuck in a mud bog and had
to winch out. The honda 8 broke and we had to put a 30 hp on the
canoe in order to get into Eagle to get it fixed. Mush have been
a fun sight.
The dogs that remain at the homestead are being
spoiled rotten and having a great summer. Racky our matriarch is
physically strong but totally deaf and mostly blind. She has the
run of the yard and we have to look for her before we move anything
as you can drive a 4 wheeler inches from her and she does not respond.
She loves to go hiking with us but stays almost within touching
distance in order to not get left behind. Last summer we got ahead
of her and it took us a long time to get her attention as she was
roaming back and forth on the riverbank looking for us.
The garden is basically in. The planted seeds are
up and the starts went in yesterday. The potatoes will hopefully
go in tomorrow. Hopefully...salads in a few weeks.
March 3, 2011...wow, time flys when you are busy
and having fun. It has been a very cold winter but the trails have
been great and all the clients have been wonderful. The dogs are
in great shape as they head into their last month of the touring
season. It is a full month, busy with clients and the expedition.
This year's expedition is sending two groups of
3 teams in opposite directions with plans to meet up somewhere at
the headwaters of the Charley River in the middle of nowhere, to
complete a 300 mile loop.
Jan 23, 2011...the weather keeps teasing us...giving
us one day of warmth and then back into the deep freeze but all
are staying warm and the dogs are enjoying the activity.
Jan 20, 2011...Has Eagle in the grips of cold.
Everyone is dressing with extreme caution to avoid getting cold.
The trails that are in are great and conditions are setting up for
us to get others opened up. Short of it being on the chilly side
it is a good mushing season and the dogs are healthy, happy and
enjoying the activity.
Happy New Year! We at Bush
Alaska Expeditions want to wish each and everyone a peaceful and
happy New Year. On the home front the temps have warmed to a balmy
15 degrees above zero. The dogs are beginning to get into excellant
touring shape and the trails are starting to all come together into
some great trail running.
Merry Christmas, 2010...sounds like a lot of the
lower 48 is having a white Christmas. For us it is definitely white
and beautiful. Trails are beginning to be established and the river
running is great in this area. The dogs are getting into shape and
loving the trips. Weather has been a bit nippy but it has warmed
a little. Good gear is essential. Clients arrived yesterday and
were a little cold after the plane flight but once they got suited
up they were amazed at how warm they got.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO COME!
Dec 1st...FREEZE UP...sometime last night the ice
stopped moving, coming to a really easy stop here at our bend in
the river. It is setting up to be a superhighway of travel this
season. Right now there is massive overflow going on but with the
little jumble and the cold temps things are going to turn out sooooo
nice. The only drawback will be that wind might blow the snow down
to the ice at times. So dogs will get a lot of ice work this year.
Nov 21st...We finally got a good dump of snow...deep
enough to run single file and get hung up here and there. Any good
dog sled maker will tell you that the distance between the brush
bow and the foot -pads on the runner that the musher stands on is
a critical distance. You know you have it right when the brush bow
clips a tree and the entire snow load of the tree falls directly
on the head of the musher.....cooling him off from the difficult
Nov15th...and the river is still running
ice. The temps have continued to stay mild and snow stays light.
But it has snowed 2 inches today and a cold snap is moving in so
we are hopeful that in a few days things will change. Our pet marten
came home just after my last post. It was great to see him after
his summer of exploring. We have had a grizzly wondering around
the fish crib and the cabin but he appears to have moved on but
a lone wolf and 3 legged fox keep hanging around. The dogs are enjoying
their free runs but that is changing to runs in a team with Wayne
or Nate on the sled. This time of year it is a good time to do additional
training and get the dogs into top form before tours start. The
dogs are loving the runs and so far most of the runs have ended
with the guys very happy with their teams and the training that
Oct 25th...third day of ice flowing in the river.
It started with some slush on the 22nd which formed into ice pans
on the 23rd. This picture was taken yesterday. Each day will have
the ice pans thickening and growing larger, with pans freezing together
and forming much larger ice formations. This will continue until
ice is strong enough to jam in narrow or shallow spots. Then travel
on the Yukon will begin again only this time over the ice and not
in the water.
Oct 20th...2 inches of snow on the ground but the
river is still ice free. We went to town yesterday and drove through
the road construction to the 40-Mile and put up the tent that we
use sometimes and the Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race mushers use as a
rest stop in February. Last week the guys went downriver to drop
off a cache of supplies for winter touring and had 2 bull moose
come out to see them. The pics are of the one that heard them rattling
around in the brush and swam the Yukon before coming up within feet
of the boat. Our son, Matt had placed himself up on the bank to
get the picture as he walked by.
Oct 7th...Matt and the dogs settled in and fishing
began to take over the days. The chum run was smaller than the fish
biologists had predicted but we filled our racks for the first time
in 3 years. It is a pretty sight. Everybody quickly got busy and
pulled the fish wheels out of the water and parked up on the shore.
The next day snow hit the ground and stayed for about 4 days before
a warm up brought us back to more normal fall temps.
All supplies are in...well...still 1 ton of dog
food to come but it is slated to get here, so we are set for winter.
The dogs are enjoying their free runs and we are looking forward
to a little slack time as we await a couple of litters of pups.
Both Matt and Nate are working on expanding their dog teams.
Moose hunting did not go so well for us and the
guys were getting pretty tired of the early mornings and late nights,
especially not seeing even a cow. So when friends notified us that
the caribou had made it to the summit Matt and Nate took off. Wayne
stayed here as we had some business to take care of. Just about
dark the guys came in with 2 medium sized caribou. So that with
last years moose should give us enough meat for the winter.
CONTACT: For more information and/or
questions e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or email@example.com or write us at:
Bush Alaska Expeditions, P O Box 161, Eagle, AK 99738. No
incoming phone calls due to the remote location but there is Internet
access via satellite. Phone calls can be arranged via computer and